Barcelona Focusing on Treble

No Spanish side has ever landed the domestic league and cup double as well as the Champions League – but Barca stand on the brink of making history after completing phase one of their objective in Valencia on Wednesday night.

The Catalan giants overcame the surprise of conceding an early goal to Gaizka Toquero by romping to a comfortable 4-1 win thanks to strikes from Yaya Toure, Lionel Messi, Bojan Krkic and Xavi.

Barca are one point away from clinching the Primera Division title while Manchester United lie in wait in the Champions League final in Rome on May 27.

Guardiola is hoping his players do not rest on their laurels following their Mestalla success and quickly turn their attention to Sunday’s Primera Division clash at Real Mallorca.

“We’re lucky we have players of such high quality who can put into practice the ideas of any manager,” he said.

“We’ve got the first trophy and now it’s time to go for the second.

“We want to gain the point we need in order to win La Liga and then we can look forward to preparing for the final of the Champions League.

“The team is on course for something important.

“I never expected this season to go quite as well as it has.”

Barca were at their imperious best on Wednesday night with their pass-and-move game proving too much for plucky Athletic.

“We knew that the Basques would be physical, that they were very strong,” added Guardiola.

“Above all we knew that we were going to be facing a very aggressive team so it was important to get the ball out quickly, to avoid contact and not let them suffocate us.”

Athletic’s hopes of landing their first major trophy in 25 years may have been dashed but coach and players were philosophical about the manner of the defeat.

Boss Joaquin Caparros said: “We came here excited about the chance of winning a trophy, but it wasn’t to be and so I have to congratulate Barcelona.

“It was tough but we lost to the best team in the world. I want to apologize to the fans. There are no words to describe what they’ve done for us.”

Star striker Fernando Llorente added: “It’s sad to get to the final and then lose, but we lost to the best team in the world.

“We’re proud to have got this far. We’ve got the Europa League and the Supercopa to look forward to next year and we can do something good with that.”